Monday Inspirations: Green

Hello again.  Happy Monday.  Are you looking forward to your week?  We are definitely looking forward to our nature journaling workshop this Saturday.  We sure hope to see you there…

Until then, we’re here to provide a little inspiration for working some nature exploration into your week.  We promise it’ll be fun!

The following activities have been inspired by all the beautiful green growth outside as well as a lovely book titled Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.  Whether you are 3 or 93 or somewhere in between, give them a try and have fun!

  • Matching Green:  Have you seen our color walk cards in the childrens’ area?  Would you like to have your own?  Head to your favorite paint supplier and collect some paint chips.  Try to choose shades of green close to what you have seen in nature.  Punch holes in them and attach to a key ring.  Head outside and see how many of them you can match.  
  • Creating Green: Put some green paint on a paint pallet or paper plate along with some white and black paint.  Try slowly adding some white or black to the green and paint that color onto some paper.  Now add a little more and add it to your painting.  Experiment further by adding yellow, blue, and purple.  What do your shades of green look like now?  By the time you are done you’ll have a lovely green color study that just might be fridge worthy.
  • Journaling Green:  Now that you’ve experimented with making different shades of green, take your nature journal and paint supplies or colored pencils outside.  Stop at a few different plants, draw a quick sketch, maybe add a description, and try to match the color.  You’ll have captured the freshness of spring in your journal.  Maybe you can even visit the same plant in the summer and see if the color has changed any…
If you would like to share photos of any of these activities that you have tried, we would love to see them!  You might see them in a TPL Gardens photo gallery!

A Great Day and Another Coming Up…

Last month the Topsham Public Library Garden Committee hosted a Garden open-house and what a lovely day it was!  The weather was perfect, volunteers were hard at work, children played, laughed and made some nature crafts and we even made a few new friends.  We call that a success!  Thank you to all who joined us.
This month, we have another fun event happening in the gardens and it’s coming right up…  
It’s our second annual nature journaling workshop.  This year, we will be hosting a series of three workshops, all with a specific theme.
Sources: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 
The first in the series, taking place May 18th at 1pm, will be an introduction to the practice of nature journaling and is open to all ages.  We’ll be kicking it off with a not-to-be-missed 3D slide presentation by a very special friend that’s sure to inspire you.  The rest of our time will be spent in the gardens where you’ll receive individual guidance as you make a nature journal entry.
We will provide notebooks and sketching pencils, although do feel free to bring your own supplies.  You may also choose to bring your camera if you’d like to add photos to your journal.
We hope to see you then…

P.S.  If you’d like to read more about nature journaling, check out my post here: The Art of Observation 
Don’t forget to view the resources at the end.

It’s Getting Greener!

Have you noticed?  It’s greening up outside and it’s beautiful!  
Go ahead… While you’re at the library, take a stroll around our gardens.  There are some lovely flowers blooming and all sorts of new growth.  And speaking of new growth, have you ever noticed how many different shades of green there are?  The variations seem endless.
If you’re with your children (or even if you’re not), grab the color walk cards and see how many different greens you can match.  Don’t forget to visit our “Activity downloads” page for a great Nature Detective packet to encourage your little ones to learn all about leaves.  Or, take an observation sheet with you and tell us what you notice in the gardens.  We’d love to hear from you!
Have a wonderful spring-green day.

Garden Structures

We’re on the look out for simple, sturdy designs for garden structures that would fit in the TPL gardens. I ran across this site on a Google search:
Here’s one that I think could be scaled down to for different purposes. 

But I really like the idea of follies, something for garden decoration but suggesting another purpose, like a mini-castle or this stump cave.

Whoa. Googled some more. Folly fanciers. Huh. Post ideas that might fit in at the TPL gardens. 


Lately we have been reading lots of garden-related stories: Seedfolks, Rose’s Garden, Plant a Kiss, and more.

But these stories are not just about planting gardens.  They are about so much more, like planting seeds of hope for a future filled with beauty.  About the power of nature.  About how simple gestures bloom into something so much bigger with faith and perseverance.  About a sense of community. 

The messages found in these pages are being realized right here at our library.  

Join us on the 27th of this month from 10am to 12pm to celebrate the library gardens at our spring Gardens Open-house.  See what our community has nurtured from those very first seeds of hope and be a part of its blooming.


The library is looking for Master Gardener Volunteers to take on discrete projects and assist in the maintenance of others. Several Master Gardener volunteers have already contributed to the project and two MGVs maintain a continuing relationship with the project.
Volunteers are needed to

  • Design and/or build of raised or vertical beds appropriate for Universal Access Garden, for gardeners of all abilities, including those with physical limitations
  • Design and /or build of garden shade structures appropriate for Children’s Garden
  • Modify or design/build of composting system
  • Create of interpretive signage for Children’s, Butterfly, and Universal Access Garden and composting area
  • Assist in continuing  maintenance of Rainbow and Butterfly Gardens
  • Assist in recruiting and  managing garden volunteers.


If you are interested in this project contact Bernardo Feliciano (Master Gardener) at  or Susan Preece Director of the Library at 725-1727 or

Happy Spring!

Looking out the window you might not know that spring is officially here.  Yes, Mother Nature seems to be at her spring cleaning and is sweeping out all the remaining snow from every nook and cranny but we are Mainers and have come to expect a good spring snow storm.  We are not about to let it stop us from celebrating!

There is much to look forward to at the library and some great events that will take place in the library’s lovely gardens.  Be sure to keep an eye out for details so you can join the fun…

Until then, here are some inspirations for spring activities that you and your children can enjoy no matter what the weather conditions:

Happy Spring!

A Snowy Bird Feeder

Our next bird feeder has been inspired by one of our favorite books: 
Stranger in the Woods.

With our current weather, I’d say it’s perfect timing.  Here’s how to do it: Build a snow man, woman, dog, elephant… whatever you like.  Add a carrot or orange nose; some nut eyes, mouth and buttons; and sprinkle with bird seed.  Get creative and have fun.  

So get outside and play in the snow.  The birds will thank you!

Here’s a little inspiration to get you going:

1.   2.  3.  4.

For the Birds

Did you know that February is National Bird-Feeding Month?

It was established in 1994 as way to publicize the importance and benefits of helping out our feathered friends.

Why February?  This is traditionally the hardest month for wild birds to find food sources as well as water and shelter. 

I can’t think of a better month to show our love for the birds that are so important to our gardens and environment!  If you would like to celebrate with us and help keep our little friends fed throughout the month, we will be posting a simple DIY bird feeder each week that you can do with your children and hang outside.

To kick it off, here’s a simple hanging feeder:

birdseed favors

3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 Tbsp corn syrup
4 cups bird seed
Combine flour, water, gelatin, and corn syrup in a large bowl.  
Add bird seed and mix well.
Spray the inside of a cookie cutter with cooking spray  (we found a 2-4″ size worked best)
Fill the cookie cutter with the bird seed mixture and press down firmly (the firmer it is, the better it will stay together)
Make a hole near the top (but not too close)
Carefully remove cookie cutter 
Let dry for 6-8 hours
Loop a 10″ length of jute through the hole and hang outside for birds to enjoy!

Let us know how yours turned out…